Free anti-hypertensive drugs at community clinics deemed crucial for marginalised communities
Health – Bangladesh
A decision taken by the government to include hypertension medication in the drug list of community clinics with a view to protecting hypertensive population in Bangladesh is expected to play a crucial role in ensuring access to free anti-hypertensive medication for marginalised communities and controlling the rising prevalence of hypertension-related non-communicable diseases, said speakers at a workshop in Dhaka yesterday.
At the same time, necessary budget needs to be allocated to ensure an uninterrupted supply of the medicine at community clinics and upazila health complexes, they said.
These recommendations were highlighted at the virtual workshop titled “Hypertension Control in Bangladesh” organised for journalists by research and advocacy organisation PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) with support from Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI). Twenty-nine journalists from Sylhet division working in print, electronic, and online media houses took part in the workshop.
It was informed at the workshop that one in every four adults in Bangladesh is suffering from hypertension. Ensuring availability of free hypertension medicines at community clinic level can be a cost-effective approach in this regard. The initiative of providing hypertension medicine from the community clinic initially began in Sylhet and the government recently took the initiative to expand it nationwide.
Currently patients are given one month’s medicine from the NCD corner of the Upazila Health Complexes. It was further informed at the workshop that it would be possible to save many lives and prevent heart attacks and strokes at a low cost if 2-3 months’ medicine can be prescribed at a time along with ensuring the availability of hypertension medicines at community clinic.
The keynote presentation on hypertension control was delivered by Dr Shamim Jubayer, programme manager of Hypertension Control Programme, National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute, and Sadia Galiba Prova, coordinator of Hypertension Control and Trans Fat Elimination Project, PROGGA. Muhammad Ruhul Quddus, Bangladesh Country Lead of GHAI and ABM Zubair, Executive Director of PROGGA was present at the workshop as the discussant.